Dmitry Likhachev
Dmitry Sergeyevich Likhachov was an outstanding Soviet Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

n scholar who was considered the world's foremost expert in Old Russian language and literature. He has been revered as "the last of old St Petersburgers", "a guardian of national culture", and "Russia's conscience".


Likhachov graduated in 1928 from the Leningrad University. In the same year, he was arrested for his speech deploring the Bolshevik
The Bolsheviks, originally also Bolshevists , derived from bol'shinstvo, "majority") were a faction of the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party which split apart from the Menshevik faction at the Second Party Congress in 1903....

 reform of Russian orthography
The orthography of a language specifies a standardized way of using a specific writing system to write the language. Where more than one writing system is used for a language, for example Kurdish, Uyghur, Serbian or Inuktitut, there can be more than one orthography...

. Deported to the Solovki Special Purpose Camp, he spent 5 years studying the "criminal folklore" as he termed it. Likhachov returned to Leningrad unbroken, and started his spectacular scholarly career in the Pushkin House
Pushkin House
The Pushkin House is the familiar name of the Institute of Russian Literature in St. Petersburg. It is part of a network of institutions affiliated with the Russian Academy of Sciences.- Establishment :...

 (as the Russian Literature Institute is known), which spanned more than 60 years and saw the publication of more than 500 scholarly works. Likhachov didn't stop his work even during the Siege of Leningrad
Siege of Leningrad
The Siege of Leningrad, also known as the Leningrad Blockade was a prolonged military operation resulting from the failure of the German Army Group North to capture Leningrad, now known as Saint Petersburg, in the Eastern Front theatre of World War II. It started on 8 September 1941, when the last...

. He believed that Russia was an integral and indivisible part of European civilization, contrary to "Euroasiatic" views of Russia popular with Lev Gumilev
Lev Gumilev
Lev Nikolayevich Gumilev , was a Soviet historian, ethnologist and anthropologist. His unorthodox ideas on the birth and death of ethnic groups have given rise to the political and cultural movement known as "Neo-Eurasianism".-Life:His parents were two prominent poets Nikolay Gumilev and Anna...

, Boris Rybakov
Boris Rybakov
Boris Alexandrovich Rybakov was a Soviet and Russian historian who personified the anti-Normanist vision of Russian history....

, and many other contemporaries.

In 1953, Likhachov was admitted into the Soviet Academy of Sciences as a Corresponding Member. He defended Andrei Sakharov
Andrei Sakharov
Andrei Dmitrievich Sakharov was a Soviet nuclear physicist, dissident and human rights activist. He earned renown as the designer of the Soviet Union's Third Idea, a codename for Soviet development of thermonuclear weapons. Sakharov was an advocate of civil liberties and civil reforms in the...

, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn was aRussian and Soviet novelist, dramatist, and historian. Through his often-suppressed writings, he helped to raise global awareness of the Gulag, the Soviet Union's forced labor camp system – particularly in The Gulag Archipelago and One Day in the Life of...

 and other dissidents during their persecution by Soviet authorities. In 1986, he was elected the first President of the Russian Cultural Fund. In his 80s and 90s, he became more of a public figure, serving as an informal advisor to St. Petersburg Mayor Anatoly Sobchak
Anatoly Sobchak
Anatoly Alexandrovich Sobchak was a Russian politician, a co-author of the Constitution of the Russian Federation, the first democratically elected mayor of Saint Petersburg, and a mentor and teacher of both Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev....

 and President Boris Yeltsin
Boris Yeltsin
Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin was the first President of the Russian Federation, serving from 1991 to 1999.Originally a supporter of Mikhail Gorbachev, Yeltsin emerged under the perestroika reforms as one of Gorbachev's most powerful political opponents. On 29 May 1990 he was elected the chairman of...

. In October 1993, he signed the Letter of Forty-Two
Letter of Forty-Two
The Letter of Forty-Two was an open letter signed by forty-two well-known Russian literati, aimed at Russian society, the president and government, in reaction to the events of September – October 1993...

. In the same year, he became the first person to be named an Honorary Citizen of St Petersburg. He also presided over the commission set up to prepare for Alexander Pushkin's bicentenary. A year before his death, Likhachov became the very first recipient of the reinstated Order of St. Andrew
Order of St. Andrew
The Order of St. Andrew the First-Called is the first and the highest order of chivalry of the Russian Empire.- Russian Empire :The Order was established in 1698 by Tsar Peter the Great, in honour of Saint Andrew, the first apostle of Jesus and patron saint of Russia...

. The Likhachov Philanthropic Fund was set up by his daughter and George Soros
George Soros
George Soros is a Hungarian-American business magnate, investor, philosopher, and philanthropist. He is the chairman of Soros Fund Management. Soros supports progressive-liberal causes...

 in 2001.


A minor planet
Minor planet
An asteroid group or minor-planet group is a population of minor planets that have a share broadly similar orbits. Members are generally unrelated to each other, unlike in an asteroid family, which often results from the break-up of a single asteroid...

 2877 Likhachev
2877 Likhachev
2877 Likhachev is a main-belt asteroid discovered on October 8, 1969 by L. Chernykh at Nauchnyj.- External links :*...

 discovered in 1969 by Soviet
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 astronomer Lyudmila Chernykh
Lyudmila Chernykh
Lyudmila Ivanovna Chernykh is a Russian, Ukrainian and Soviet astronomer.In 1959 she graduated from Irkutsk State Pedagogical University. Between 1959 and 1963 she worked in the 'Time and Frequency Laboratory' of the All-Union Research Institute of Physico-Technical and Radiotechnical Measurements...

 is named after him.


  • 1952 - Stalin Prize
  • 1963 - Elected to the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences
    Bulgarian Academy of Sciences
    The Bulgarian Academy of Sciences is the National Academy of Bulgaria, established in 1869. The Academy is autonomous and has a Society of Academicians, Correspondent Members and Foreign Members...

  • 1964 - Honorary doctorate of the Torun University
  • 1964 - Honorary doctorate of the Oxford University
  • 1966 - Order of the Red Banner of Labour
    Order of the Red Banner of Labour
    The Order of the Red Banner of Labour was an order of the Soviet Union for accomplishments in labour and civil service. It is the labour counterpart of the military Order of the Red Banner. A few institutions and factories, being the pride of Soviet Union, also received the order.-History:The Red...

  • 1968 - Elected to the Austrian Academy of Sciences
    Austrian Academy of Sciences
    The Austrian Academy of Sciences is a legal entity under the special protection of the Federal Republic of Austria. According to the statutes of the Academy its mission is to promote the sciences and humanities in every respect and in every field, particularly in fundamental research...

  • 1970 - Elected to the Soviet Academy of Sciences
  • 1964 - Honorary doctorate of the Edinburgh University
  • 1969 - USSR State Prize
    USSR State Prize
    The USSR State Prize was the Soviet Union's state honour. It was established on September 9, 1966. After the breakup of the Soviet Union, the prize was followed up by the State Prize of the Russian Federation....

  • 1972 - Elected to the Serbian Academy of Sciences
  • 1973 - Elected to the Hungarian Academy of Sciences
    Hungarian Academy of Sciences
    The Hungarian Academy of Sciences is the most important and prestigious learned society of Hungary. Its seat is at the bank of the Danube in Budapest.-History:...

  • 1983 - Honorary doctorate of the University of Bordeaux
    University of Bordeaux
    University of Bordeaux is an association of higher education institutions in and around Bordeaux, France. Its current incarnation was established 21 March 2007. The group is the largest system of higher education schools in southwestern France. It is part of the Academy of Bordeaux.There are seven...

  • 1983 - Honorary doctorate of the University of Zurich
    University of Zurich
    The University of Zurich , located in the city of Zurich, is the largest university in Switzerland, with over 25,000 students. It was founded in 1833 from the existing colleges of theology, law, medicine and a new faculty of philosophy....

  • 1985 - Honorary doctorate of the Budapest University
  • 1986 - Hero of Socialist Labour
  • 1987 - Elected to the Lincean Academy
  • 1988 - Honorary doctorate of the University of Göttingen
  • 1991 - Honorary doctorate of the Charles University
  • 1992 - Honorary doctorate of the University of Siena
    University of Siena
    The University of Siena in Siena, Tuscany is one of the oldest and first publicly funded universities in Italy. Originally called Studium Senese, the University of Siena was founded in 1240. The University has around 20,000 students, nearly half of Siena's total population of around 54,000...

  • 1993 - Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
    American Academy of Arts and Sciences
    The American Academy of Arts and Sciences is an independent policy research center that conducts multidisciplinary studies of complex and emerging problems. The Academy’s elected members are leaders in the academic disciplines, the arts, business, and public affairs.James Bowdoin, John Adams, and...

  • 1993 - Lomonosov Gold Medal
    Lomonosov Gold Medal
    The Lomonosov Gold Medal, named after Russian scientist and polymath Mikhail Lomonosov, is awarded each year since 1959 for outstanding achievements in the natural sciences and the humanities by the USSR Academy of Sciences and later the Russian Academy of Sciences . Two medals are awarded...

  • 1995 - Elected to the American Philosophical Society
    American Philosophical Society
    The American Philosophical Society, founded in 1743, and located in Philadelphia, Pa., is an eminent scholarly organization of international reputation, that promotes useful knowledge in the sciences and humanities through excellence in scholarly research, professional meetings, publications,...

  • 1998 - Order of St. Andrew
    Order of St. Andrew
    The Order of St. Andrew the First-Called is the first and the highest order of chivalry of the Russian Empire.- Russian Empire :The Order was established in 1698 by Tsar Peter the Great, in honour of Saint Andrew, the first apostle of Jesus and patron saint of Russia...

  • 2000 - Russian State Prize

Main Works

  • 1942 - Defense of Old Russian Towns
  • 1945 - National Self-Consciousness of Ancient Rus
  • 1947 - Russian Chronicles and Their Cultural Significance
  • 1950 - The Tale of Bygone Years (2 volumes)
  • 1952 - Genesis of the Tale of Igor's Campaign
  • 1955 - The Lay of Igor's Campaign
  • 1958 - Human Dimension of the Old Russian Literature
  • 1962 - Russian Culture at the Times of Andrei Rublev and Epiphanius the Wise
  • 1962 - Textology
  • 1967 - Poetics of Old Russian Literature
  • 1971 - Artistic Heritage of Ancient Rus in Our Time
  • 1973 - Development of Old Russian Literature: the Epochs and Styles
  • 1975 - Great Heritage: Classic Works of Old Russian Literature
  • 1976 - Laughing World of Ancient Rus
  • 1978 - The Tale of Igor's Campaign and Culture of That Time
  • 1981 - Russian Notes
  • 1981 - Literature - Reality - Literature
  • 1982 - The Poetry of Gardens
  • 1985 - Letters about the Kind and Beautiful
  • 1987 - Selected Works, in Three Volumes
  • 1989 - From the Note-Books of Various Years
  • 1992 - Russian Art from the Antiquity to Avantgarde
  • 1995 - Reminiscences
  • 1996 - Essays on the Philosophy of Artistic Creativity
  • 1997 - Articles on Intelligentsia
  • 1999 - Meditations about Russia
  • 2000 - Essays on Russian Culture

External links

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